Old Man Winter has gone far at his way this year to give me almost every type of Winter biking experience I can imagine. Rain, snow, bitter cold, rain and snow, snow and bitter cold, packed snow, glare ice, packed snow and glare ice and giant puddles with submerged ice. Yes, folks. It has been a real party. I have two bikes to choose from. Up until the weather got nasty I preferred a Bionx kit mounted on a mountain bike. I also have a wilderness energy mounted on the front hub of the townie 21. I really like the Bionx because of the awesome range of lithium-ion battery and the speed of the combination. I am not a huge fan of mountain bikes on snow because falls can happen fairly quickly and fairly painfully. The first day the roads were really nasty I had a brain storm. The townie is designed with the pedals considerably forward of the seat, and the seat fairly close to the ground. Close enough in fact that in a comfortable riding position it is easy to put both feet flat on the ground without moving from the saddle. I thought this might be helpful on slick roads. I was right.
I won't go to the blow-by-blow learning process, none of which involved actually falling, but here's what I've learned.
Deep snow, a foot and a half or more: forget it. If you have a little to go through just get off and push. If you have a lot to get through, leave the bike at home and walk. Deep snow just has way too much resistance to make it worth the effort. Anything less than that and it is pretty easy to muddle through with more speed and less effort than walking would require. I should also say that deep as a relative term. We had about a foot of freshly fallen snow that was actually quite easy to ride through. A week or so later some brutal winds came through and moved all the snow around. Four inches or more of the windblown snow was nearly impossible to ride through. I got a really good workout that day.
Deep water, an inch or more: go slowly and stick your feet way out. The fenders will keep most of the water off (I hope you didn't skip the fenders) but the splash from the wheels can still drench your feet up to midcalf. The reason for going slowly is you never know what is going to be underneath the dirty water. I have been surprised several times by potholes lurking beneath and even ice. Sometimes rather oddly shaped ice. In a moment of youthful exuberance a couple of weeks back I hit a deep puddle at about 15 miles an hour in the next three seconds were very exciting. My bike caromed off an icy stalagmite forcing me to jump off the other way to save us both. I wound up with two boots brim full of very cold water. I am lucky I managed to not let go of the bike because no system I have ever heard of is designed to survive complete submersion.
Sheet ice: slow to 3 or 4 miles an hour, plan on not turning for a while, drag your feet along the ground, and use the throttle if you need to keep your speed up. It is amazing the amount of crap I have been able to get through this way. I have taken a tumble into this winter walking across things that I've later biked across with no problem whatsoever. Dragging my feet is just precaution mostly because the ice always has some texture to it. In the morning it is sometimes hard to see the hills and valleys that passing cars have cut into it. If the bike does start to get squirrelly it is nice to have the extra support at the ready. For awhile I naïvely thought that walking to work would be easier when the streets are mostly ice. In practice it is much easier to bike especially when you have a motor to help. I think the relatively smooth, soft tread of the townie tires might be helping grip the ice as well.
I am really looking forward to seeing how the lithium batteries on the Bionx do in the winter cold, but until the road conditions improve its just not worth risking my face. (And for those of you who have actually seen my face please skip the easy joke. Your forbearance is appreciated. :-)
Weather over here " Moncton NB, Canada " has been the weirdest ever.. Jan 15.. NO SNOW ON THE GROUND !!!! this is unreal.
I like biking in the snow, spent many hours as a kid in the white stuff.. but not lately.. They salt the roads around here like it was going out of style.. and everything rusts like mad..
I want to try out my front wheel 407 if it snows today ( might get 15cm today !!! )
Aka: Buzzz on old V forum !
ypedal - long time no see, where the hell have you been?
I'm nearly at build stage now - knoxie is helping me out. Missed you and Dom tho :)
Yeah.. been away since the original V died.. i've been hanging around the yahoo groups lately.. but at times gets pretty slow in there.. This place is taking shape.. i like it !
Do you have a thread going on your progress ?
Aka: Buzzz on old V forum !
Good to see ya here Buzz,
Hows the hawker chopper coming on? are you going to have shotgun holsters :)
"Do you have a thread going on your progress ?"
Basically the old forum is gone for good. I'm not sure what's happened to Ken he seems to have taken a break from the world of EV's at least for a while. Reikiman and Gman have set up this forum and it looks like most of us have found it , some people also hang out at www.endless-sphere.com
Its sad we've lost all data from the old site in some ways the site going down is a good thing coz there tonnes of new features on this site and I think it will be around for a good while because its not just 1 person who controls it so itsnot going to be knocked out if one person disappears! If you want to read more then check out the admin section.
i have a blog here which needs updating - i'm just waiting on a few more parts coming in before i update.
I've been here and keeping an idea on endless sphere forums too - most old v guys are on there but i'm hoping this site will take off too, like yahoo it gets very slow here.
I have bought a kit!!! i have 2 x 36v lipo's 15ah from teamhybrid and a 20" rear wheel with the bmc motor in,i'm going to run it on 36-72v35a crystalyte immediate start hopefully get the same performance as knoxie's bmx.
Most of the parts are in my posession but i'm waiting on a seat,the wheel (should be this week) and a few other minor bits - keep an eye out, my bike should take shape real soon!!!
good to hear from you again mate, take care.